What is ELSA?
There will always be children and young people in schools facing life challenges that detract from their ability to engage with learning. Some will require greater support to increase their emotional literacy than others.The ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) project was originally developed within Southampton then Hampshire by Sheila Burton, Educational Psychologist. It recognises that children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are also addressed.
We are lucky enough to have a qualified Emotional Literacy Support Assistant at Pocklington Infants - Mrs Saltmer. She has been trained by Educational Psychologists to plan and deliver programmes of support to pupils who are experiencing temporary or longer term additional emotional needs. Mrs Saltmer undertakes regular training.
The majority of ELSA work is delivered on an individual basis, but sometimes small group work is more appropriate, especially in the areas of social and friendship skills. Sessions are fun, Mrs Saltmer uses a range of activities such as: games, role-play with puppets or arts and craft. ELSA sessions take place in the 'ELSA room' which provides a calm, safe space for the child to feel supported and nurtured.
In ELSA the aim is to provide support for a wide range of emotional needs:
- Recognising emotions
- Social skills
- Friendship skills
- Anger management
- Loss and bereavement
How does ELSA work?
Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher. Every half term Mrs Smith and Mrs Saltmer meet to discuss the referral forms and to identify and prioritise which children require the ELSA programme. With the programme aims in mind support sessions are planned to facilitate the pupil in developing new skills and coping strategies that allow them to manage social and emotional demands more effectively. For children with complex or long-term needs ELSA intervention will not resolve all their difficulties, however support will be designed to target specific aspects of a child's need.